Five players to watch: South Africa

Getty Images     11 Sep 2018     Getty Images

Here are five players that will play a key role if the Springboks are to get their first win over the All Blacks since 2014.

Malcolm Marx (Hooker)
The hype has been building for South Africa’s powerhouse hooker Malcolm Marx over the past couple of seasons and now New Zealand fans have the chance to see what all the fuss is about. Former Springboks coach Nick Mallett said that Marx is the complete package and a world-class weapon for South Africa: “He is an absolute menace around the ball, you cannot move him, he is completely legal and when he is on the ball, that ball is lost,” Mallet said. Marx was in insatiable form for the Lions in Super Rugby this year with 12 tries - more than any other forward in the competition. 


Siya Kolisi (Loose forward)
Siya Kolisi made history earlier this year when he was named as South Africa’s first ever black Test captain. But the 105kg loose forward is more than just an inspirational leader. Kolisi is a dynamic ball-runner and thunderous defender who can change the shape of a game in just one play. Blessed with speed, silky ball skills and a tenacious attitude, Kolisi is a genuine game-breaker and go-to leader in the Springboks side. Expect Kolisi to wage a furious battle with the All Blacks loose forwards at the vital breakdown area also.

Jesse Kriel (Centre)

Although just 24-years-old, you could be forgiven for placing classy centre Jesse Kriel in the veteran category with 33 Tests under his belt. An incisive runner and slick distributor, Kriel is a reliable operator in the midfield who offers moments of brilliance to trouble the defence. When Kriel chooses to run, he can bust the line either through brute strength or sharp pace. But his most effective weapon is perhaps his distribution. Either through offloading or perfectly timed long balls, Kriel has the ability to create space and opportunities for his outside backs.

Aphiwe Dyantyi (Wing)
Blessed with searing pace and deft footwork, Dyantyi has made a huge splash in his first season of both Super and International rugby. With the ability to make something out of nothing, Dyantyi’s x-factor qualities quickly caught the attention Springboks selectors who chose him for the three-Test series against England in June after just 10 games of Super Rugby. The All Blacks structured defensive line could well be tested by a free-running player like Dyantyi who does the unpredictable.

Warren Whiteley (No.8)

Warren Whiteley is a tireless worker and hard-hitting defender - the perfect player for a big match. While there are a number of huge head-to-head battles over the park, none will be bigger than the clash between Whiteley and Kieran Read should they both be selected. Like Read for the All Blacks, the 110kg back-rower is a talismanic player for the Springboks and a natural leader. Whiteley thrives on the physical contest and will be looking to take it to the All Blacks in all of the tight exchanges.

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